I quite appreciate that, but the matter is so important it seems those are two broadcasts that the country could well afford to take care of. We are in the Elections Act trying, as the lists are to be closed, to have so far as possible fall upon the country the costs that formerly to a great extent fell upon members of parliament.
Mr. Speaker, I would say that where stations are nationally owned there should not be any very great practical difficulty in working out some sort of scheme whereby it would be ensured that the different parties had equitable treatment in the matter of broadcasting during elections. But I rose to say this with regard to stations that are privately owned; when one considers the fact that these privately owned stations are in the nature of
a monopoly granted by the government of Canada I do not think it would be at all unfair to put into the act or regulations something which would regulate them so that they could not abuse the privileges they have in the interests of any one political party.
I have heard of cases where one political party took the broadcasting of a privately owned station for two weeks with the express intention of shutting out their political opponents. That should not be tolerated in view of the fact that this is a monopoly which is conferred by the government of the dominion. Something should very properly be done with regard to that.
Mr. Speaker, I think from the slight experience I have had in connection with the radio and as organizer of a political campaign, political parties have that characteristic which is traditionally attributed to women in that all political parties wish to have the last word. On the occasion to which I refer when I was interested in this matter I found little or no difficulty in arriving at an arrangement with the opposite political party, even though the principal station in the district was owned by Conservatives. For instance, as is well known to this house, Sundays are the great speaking days throughout the province of Quebec, and it was arranged that if one party had Sunday afternoon on the radio the other party should have Sunday evening. But when it came to the last word on the last night, then the difficulty arose. The owner of the radio station in his loyalty to his party insisted that the Conservatives should have from ten to twelve o'clock on the very last night. I do not know how we could get over that difficulty.
line of the remarks made by the hon. member for North Waterloo (Mr. Euler)? I found some difficulty myself at the time of the last election. I communicated with one station in Quebec city asking to be favoured in having the use of the station to speak to my electors on the north shore. I wrote a letter to the party at the head of that concern but never got an answer, with the result that I did not get the use of the station although
I offered to pay for it, and the people of the opposite party got it and used it to speak as much as they liked.
I am not desirous of challenging the statement of the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay (Mr. Casgrain) but I feel I am correct in saying that during the 1930 election there was no station in Quebec city of sufficiently high power to enable his beloved electors to hear him from there. Therefore I am sure he was not refused access to the Quebec stations, because even had they been at his disposal none of his electors would have been able to receive the broadcast.
With respect to what the hon. member for West Edmonton (Mr. Stewart) has said, I say it is absolutely unfair to expect that the commission shall make broadcasting facilities available to political parties without any charge. As long as the House of Commons will not be public-spirited enough to vote the necessary money to the radio commission in order that proper facilities be afforded to the general public we ought not to expect them to give facilities for election speeches free. We have had many by-elections since 1930, and lately we have had general elections in two provinces. I think it is fair that it should be stated in this house that no complaints have been made against the commission as to what took place in Ontario, for instance. I was just speaking yesterday with Colonel Steel, who is in charge of broadcasting, and he told me he had received no complaint, therefore I think we can say that there was fairness to all political parties.
privilege. The hon. member for Dorchester (Mr. Gagnon) stated that no radio station in the district of Quebec would have been able to reach the people in my district. My opponent who comes from Quebec city-